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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Undergraduate student government passes smoking bill legislation

Harry Mertz Bio-Chem major on the right. “Way to busy to go off campus. I have 7 minutes in between four hour classes. I’m not losing any of those 7 minutes to hike off campus to a smoking zone. Increased enforcement seems like a waste of Public Safety resources.”
Brennan Bukowski History major on the left. “Ideal for commuters to be able to smoke on campus and it seems like 90 percent of the population does.” 

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) has officially passed the Smoking Regulations on Campus Act (SROC-Act) on Nov. 20, 2013, based on the results of survey of 624 students conducted by the USG.

The bill states that there are currently no official regulations regarding smoking outdoors. The bill asks that the university create rules regarding smokers proximity to a campus building’s entrance, and also asks that the Campus Police strictly enforce these rules once they are made. The bill also requests that the 25-year Master Planning Committee “develop accommodating smoking shelters that will permit for smoking users to be able to smoke during hazardous weather.”

USG President Kayla Worthey vetoed the Bill in January, forcing it back to the USG Senate for another vote. Worthey released a statement explaining her decision to veto the bill, saying, “USG members have been elected to represent the entire student body. Based on the CCA-led survey on the issue of smoking at UMass Boston, I had no other choice but to veto this well-intentioned bill. Only a total of 627 students, we need to do a better job of reaching out to them.”

The bill was voted on again on February 12, 2014. It was passed unchanged with a 2/3 majority, enough to override the veto. According to USG bylaws, the bill will be enacted immediately. However, the bill only asks the university to create and enforce regulation and establish weather protected smoking areas.

The bill describes in “Section 4″ that “The University of Massachusetts Boston shall decide in regards to the appropriate distance for any person to smoke on-campus in front of a building that may affect an individual to be able to breathe safely, and to prevent any smoke from entering the buildings. Section 5. The Undergraduate Student Government hereby calls on Public Safety to support and strictly enforce the new policies that will be put in place for smoking regulations on campus.”

Because the bill calls on the University to develop and enforce regulations, the consequences of the bill are unclear.